Give Yourself Permission to Write About Whatever You Want to Write About

I wrote my first nonfiction eBook in 2010. It was called, Butt-In-Chair: A No-Excuses Productivity Guide for Writers Who Struggle to Get Started. It came out on March 23, 2010 and it’s still, to this day, the book I sell the most copies of.

Before I published this book, I’d been blogging for two years, all about my writing journey and what I was learning along the way. And before that I was in journalism school and working many jobs where I had to use my writing skills.

So writing about writing just seemed to be a natural fit for me. I’ve published nine eBooks and all of them relate to writing or being a writer.

But lately I’ve been wanting to expand and write about other topics. I’ve wanted to write nonfiction about other parts of my life and share what I’ve learned in those areas.

I want to write a book about how I used personal challenges to transform my life. I want to write about overcoming fear by facing it head-on. I want to write about making amazing gluten-free, dairy-free food. I want to write a business and marketing book for multi-passionate entrepreneurs.

These are all topics I’ve avoided because I thought I wasn’t allowed to write about them. That I didn’t have enough credibility or I had to stick with writing books about writing because that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what people expect of me.

Yet another unfulfilled desire, buried deep inside.

A couple years ago my story mentor and great friend, Larry Brooks, wrote a book about relationships. Totally outside of the usual topics he writes about (as most of you know him from and Story Engineering). I respected him a lot for doing that. It’s hard to be known for something and then move outside that wheelhouse to something totally different.

Most people couldn’t and wouldn’t do that. (Not to mention all the advice in the writing industry, which says to focus and niche down. Total BS, by the way.)

But the thing we often forget when we’re multi-passionate, is that we’re different than other people.

For most people it would be a total disaster to change topics and start writing books on other topics that you’re not known for or that are outside of the wheelhouse you’ve been in. Because many people really are only good at one thing.

You and I are different. We’re good at lots of things. We have talents and gifts that stretch far beyond just being and doing one thing.

So why should you hold yourself back from writing about what you want to write about?

The way I see it, you’re alive and you’re living life. That means there are things you’re passionate about. That means along the way you picked up knowledge and skills that have allowed you to become really good at several things.

In my opinion, writing a badass nonfiction book is all about being passionate about a topic and having knoweldge, skills and experiences related to that topic.

And with that definition, it really opens up the possibilities for you to write about whatever you want to write about. How fun is that?

The reason it’s so important to focus on writing about the things you’re passionate about is because that passion will fuel you. It will be the thing that keeps you going when you want to give up.

Passion will get you across the finish line.

And that passion can only come from allowing yourself to write about the things you desire to write about–regardless of what they are–so you can share yourself, your gifts, your talents, your skills, your knowledge and your experiences with the people of the world who want and need what you have to offer.

Dream life or bust,



P.S. If you want to find the perfect topic for your first (or next) nonfiction book, join me today at 5 p.m. CST for a FREE livestream training on how to find a badass nonfiction book idea, right here on my Facebook biz page. (If you’re not reading this on my FB biz page, go here to join us:

P.S.S. Are you ready for the biggest writing challenge of your life?? (I’m talking bigger than NaNoWriMo!) Join us for the next round of my workshop, Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days.

Scary? Maybe. A challenge? To say the least. Doable? When you join this workshop.

>> Details and sign up here:

Why Every Writer Has a Nonfiction Book in Them

I work with a lot of fiction writers. In fact, fiction writers make up the majority of my community at this point. And a common complaint I hear from them is this: I can’t write nonfiction.

While it’s true that writing nonfiction isn’t for everyone, it’s untrue that fiction writers can’t write nonfiction.

Nonfiction just means what you’re writing about isn’t made up, it’s something that comes from your own knowledge, skills and experiences. And every writer–including fiction writers–has knowledge, skills and experience in something.

The thing is, we tend to discredit this knowledge, these skills and those experiences, because they feel so normal to us.

For example, maybe you’ve been playing softball since you were 11. First you started off on a little league team, then you played for your high school’s team, which got you a scholarship to play in college. You played for a couple years in college and then go sick of the competitiveness of it, and so you stopped playing at the college-level, and instead took up a summer league that’s more about having fun than it is winning.

You’ve got a long-standing background in playing softball and being a softball player. So why not use your softball knowledge, skills and experiences to write a nonfiction book for people who want the knowledge, skills and experience that you have?

And not a boring textbook-style book on “how to play softball” (unless that feels good to you). But something that will allow you to stand out and reach a readership of people who need what you have to offer.

You could write a nonfiction book about how to prepare yourself to play college ball. Or you could write a book about navigating the politics of playing softball in high school. Or you could write a combo memoir-nonfiction book that tells some of your stories from playing softball, while sharing the life-lessons you learned and how to apply them.

It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. You don’t have to write 300 pages or even cover ever little thing there is to know. Especially if you plan on publishing it on Amazon, which now has entire categories dedicated to books that are short, fast reads.

The thing I want you to see in all of this, is how ripe for nonfiction most people’s lives are. At any given time there are thousands of potential things you could write a nonfiction book about.

I’ve written nonfiction books about writing habits (several of them), becoming creative on demand, having a pro writer mindset, journaling. All of these are writing-related topics, but I’m now branching out and writing nonfiction eBooks about life-related topics, on things like productivity (in general, not just writing), being multi-passionate, challenging yourself and more.

I basically just use the knowledge, skills and experiences I’ve acquired over my life so far and turn that stuff into written content that can help someone else do the same.

Not to mention, if you’re an entrepreneur, writing a nonfiction eBook is a great way to shine a light on your business, your processes and how you get results for your clients. I wrote a book called, Find Your Story, that walks you through my 6-part story planning and development process. Then I put a call-to-action at the end, letting people know I offer a coaching program that will allow them to go deeper on this process.

That 99 cent eBook has made me thousands of dollars through clients coming to me for coaching services, wanting to have me walk them through my process in a more official capacity. And it all started by deciding to write down my process and share it in eBook form.

The other awesome thing about nonfiction eBooks is that they’re actually much easier to sell than fiction, and you can make more money overall, which can then allow you to fund your fiction writing efforts.

How cool would it be to make a full-time income writing nonfiction eBooks, and be able to free up more time for writing fiction? How cool would it be to get your processes and ideas out into the world so other people can benefit from them? How cool would it be to have consistent money rolling in every month from eBook sales?

Pretty damn cool.

Now maybe you’re a fiction writer who only wants to write fiction. Fine if you are.

For most of my life I only saw myself as a fiction writer. I thought I would only ever write novels.
But toward the end of 2009, I realized I had built up quite a bit of knowledge and skills on being productive, so I decided to write my very first nonfiction eBook (Butt-In-Chair, published in early 2010). And then I fell in love with writing nonfiction and I’ve been doing it ever since.

If you’re open-minded and willing to use your writing talents for other types of writing, nonfiction eBooks can be a great way to leverage your knowledge, skills and experiences to not only help other people, but to make some money in the process (which can then fund other things you dream of doing, being and having).

Dream life or bust,



P.S. The doors to my badass workshop, Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days, are now OPEN to new students!!! I’ve run this workshop 3 times before, and every time more than half the students who sign up go all the way and hit “publish.” I created this workshop around my own personal nonfiction eBook development, outlining, writing and publishing process. The one that I use over and over again for all of the nonfiction eBooks that I write.

> Get full details, check out testimonials and sign up here:

The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor For You

Finding and hiring an editor for your book is a pretty big deal. Not only is it an investment time-wise and financially, but it’s also an investment in the future success of your book.

On top of that, choosing a good editor can be the difference between a polished, professionally self-published book (that rivals the books published by traditional publishers) that finds a readership, and shot-in-the-dark self-published book that gets no traction. 

Which is why it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into.

And to make it even easier for you, the great people over at Kindlepreneur just released The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor. It contains everything you need to know about choosing an editor, including:

  • Deciding on the right kind of editor
  • Learning how to compare one editor to another
  • How to reach out and contact an editor

And more.

Did you know that there are four main categories of editors? A snippet from the article:

Here is a rundown of common terms for editing services as well as some other terms editors may use to describe them. These are arranged from heaviest editing to lightest editing.

  • Developmental editing (may also be called structural or content) – looks at the book’s big picture and overall structure in nonfiction or plot and characters in fiction. Developmental editors may assess a book idea, outline, or early draft to tell authors what works and what could be better. The big picture questions need to be answered first before an editor ensures your words are polished and used correctly.
  • Line editing (may also be called substantive or stylistic) – goes through each line refining the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences and smooth-transitioning paragraphs. This helps the book “sound good” by polishing the language used to communicate your story.
  • Copyediting – corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Copyediting also includes correcting commonly confused words (e.g., affect and effect) as well as checking for internal consistency of facts and consistency with capitalization, hyphenation, and numerals.
    • Important note: Sometimes Copyediting and Line Editing are the same thing…just depends on that editor’s interpretation.  In our list of book editors below, we combined them as “LE and CE” and just made it one.
  • Proofreading – a final check before publication to find missed typos, missing words, repeated words, spacing and formatting consistency. Proofreading should be the very last level of editing.

>> Check out the complete Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor 

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And if you’re in need of a content editor–someone to look at your draft for structure, character arc, opposition, and all the most important parts of writing a kick-ass story–check out my Read and Feedback service and then contact me if you wanna chat.

Why I Decided Not to Publish My New Book

This week was supposed to be the week I published my new eBook. I set a publish date for Tuesday (that was yesterday) and then I re-set a date for Thursday (that’s tomorrow).

But something was up. Something wasn’t feeling quite right.

At first I thought maybe it was just Resistance. That happens sometimes, even to an author who has hit publish 8 times.

Except it wasn’t that.

Yes, I was Resisting finishing the book… but not for my usual reasons. Usually if I Resist it’s because I know I need to put the book out there.

But this time felt different.

Something was going on deep inside me. I had that feeling I often get when I’m on the verge of a revelation or a major shift of some kind.

I felt annoyed and pissed off. I couldn’t sit still. I felt like there was something bubbling inside me that needed to come out.

So I sat down and I did some journaling. And then I finally discovered what was going on.


I knew it was true the minute it came up, because it felt right. I felt like I immediately got back into alignment with my writing dream.

For 17 days now, I’ve been writing an eBook about how to write a really good eBook. And yeah, it was a decent start. But it just wasn’t feeling right to me.

And that’s because the topic is not in alignment with who I am and what I’m meant to be writing books about.

I’m meant to be writing books for writers about alignment, motivation, inspiration, mindset and getting shit done. All of the books I’ve written so far–and all of the ones I’ve had become best sellers–are aligned with those topics.

All of them.

And that’s not to say I shouldn’t step out of my comfort zone. I should.

But there’s a difference between stepping out of your comfort zone on something you know you’re meant to be doing… and forcing yourself to do something that’s not really in alignment with who you are.

This book made me feel stuck and not in flow, which is the complete opposite of how my books make me feel.

And yes, I can absolutely teach someone how to write an eBook. I’ve done it 8 times now. But my journaling last night led me to one very simple conclusion: I DO NOT want to write books about how to write books.

So I decided to let it go. To go with my gut and listen to myself.

Yes, I did mention the book to quite a few people and I will have to explain to them my decision. But regardless of what they think or the reasons they think I’m doing it… I know the truth.

I choose to create my dream writing life all on my terms. And that sometimes means trusting your gut and knowing what you’re meant to be doing. (Or not doing.)

The outside world will tell you that this is wrong. That you should never “listen to your gut” or “trust your intuition” when making business decisions.

But that’s how I roll. It’s the only way I can roll.

Because here’s one thing I do know… You can’t be a successful author writing and publishing books that aren’t aligned with who you are.

Magic Happens When You Do This

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what, specifically, has made my mission of writing and publishing 9 books in 2016 actually happen. And what I mean by that is, what has caused me to actually be able to keep up with it? To have already written and published three books and to be working on books four and five right now?

And when I really think about it, there’s one thing that stands out: shortening the timeline.

Usually when you’re writing and publishing a book, you give yourself six months to a year to get it done (sometimes more!). But when you only give yourself 30 days (sometimes 31), it changes everything.

Because now you don’t have time to mess around. You don’t have time to procrastinate or doubt yourself or not do the work. If you want to get the book written and published in 30 days, you’ve gotta get to work immediately. 

There’s no time to waste. No time to slack off. No time to avoid doing the work.

At least, not if you actually plan on getting the book done in that timeframe.

There’s something kind of magical about shortening the timeframe that much. Because it really forces you to focus, to stick with it and to make consistent progress.

Of course, this all depends on how committed you are. But the truth is, when you’re totally 150 percent committed, you’ll make it happen. And the amount of time will never be an issue again.

This month, I wrote and published my new eBook in 5 days. I have a good friend who wrote and published her Amazon best selling novel in only 3 days. One of my other good friends just wrote and published her debut eBook in 10 days.

The amount of time you commit isn’t what matters. It’s the commitment to doing the work and making it happen that matters.

And when you’ve got that commitment in place, you can make pretty much anything happen in any amount of time.

That’s the main reason why I’m loving this 9-book challenge I’ve given myself this year. It has gotten me out of my head and into action. And there’s no other option, because if you get stuck in your head–which is what happens to most writers–you’ll never make it happen. 

At least not in 30 days.

So what does it really take to get a book written and published that quickly? Here’s what it takes for me:

  • A good book idea–you need something that’s worth writing and that you’re passionate about, otherwise it will be easy to quit.
  •  Having a fast-turnaround editor on board–I believe in professional self-publishing, so even with this short timeframe I still wouldn’t publish without someone editing the book for me first. So I have an editor who is totally on board with my crazy mission this year, and she’s willing to do a fast-turnaround for me on the edits so I can get the books out in 30 days.
  • The willingness to let everything else go–I’ve had to give up social time, spend a lot of Friday and Saturday nights home with my MacBook, get up really early and stay up really late, in order to get these books done in the short timeframe. That’s just part of it. If you want to accomplish anything, you’re gonna have to be so committed to the outcome you desire that everything else can fall by the wayside if need be.
  • Being good at designing covers–I’ve been designing all of my own book covers this year, because I’ve taken design classes and have always been interested in cover design. But this isn’t gonna be the case for most writers. And you don’t want to end up with a shitty cover. So if you can’t design it yourself and make it look pro, you’ve gotta have a cover designer on board, ready to help, or be willing to buy a pre-designed cover that’s ready to go.
  • Kick negative voices and self-doubt to the curb–this is a must. If you don’t do this, you will get stopped at every turn. And with a 30-day turnaround, you don’t have time for that. You must get rid of the “noise.” I like to do this by writing my reality, setting intentions and visualizing the end result.

This whole write-and-publish-a-book-in-30-days thing is not for the faint-hearted. It takes major guts.

But it’s totally possible, when you get out of your own way.

It’s even possible for you to write and publish it faster than that, if you wanted to. Like I said, I wrote and published my most recent book in 5 days (and it became a #1 best seller on Amazon, and is currently at #1 right now in 3 categories!). 

It’s not about the timeframe. You can write and publish a book in pretty much any timeframe if you set your mind to it.

And that’s really what it comes down to: setting your mind to it. Making the decision that you’re gonna make it happen, no matter what.

Now before I continue on, I just want to add: I don’t recommend that short of a timeframe for a novel. Most writers cannot successfully write and publish a novel in that short amount of time and actually do a good job (and please don’t even get me started on the writers who write 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo and then publish it without even thinking twice about it, UGH!).

BUT–if you’re writing nonfiction–30 days, 10 days, 5 days, 3 days, whatever–is enough time to write and publish your book. So long as you can get an editor on board to make sure there aren’t any massive errors before you hit “publish” (there’s no excuse for not professionally self-publishing your books).

I’m living proof of what’s possible when you shut up, drop the excuses, get out of your own way, set your mind to something and commit to doing the work.

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How long did it take you to get your nonfiction eBook written and published?

Are you ready to massively step up and claim the writing life you’ve been dreaming of? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs.

I’m Finally Taking A Stand and Saying What No One Else Will…

I do that a lot, don’t I? Take a stand, share what I believe. But I’m working with a new mentor now who is pushing me to greater levels of service and success than I ever imagined before.

And one of those things she talks about all the time is how you have to take a stand for your community. You have to take a stand for the people who follow you and for yourself.

You have to stand for what you believe and you have to share it—even if there are people out there who won’t like it. 

This is something I’ve always done anyhow. But there is one topic that I’ve avoided taking a stand on. It’s a topic that’s super close to my heart and something I always dreamed I’d do.

But, to be honest, I’ve been afraid to take a stand on it. To come out and say what I really, truly think and believe about it.

Because there’s a really big chance that you don’t or won’t agree with me… and that’s a scary thing to face. Disagreement. Conflict. People who discover they don’t fit in with my community anymore.

I’ve spoken about this topic before, danced around it for years, but I haven’t really shared my full all-out opinion on it.

But the time has come for me to rise up and take a stand. I deserve it and so do the people who are my ideal tribe members. After you read what I’m about to say, you’ll know once and for all whether or not you are…

I think traditionally publishing in the Digital Age is fucking stupid.

UNLESS you’ve got enough of a following (think Amanda Hocking and Andy Weir) where a traditional publisher comes knocking on YOUR door (when that happens, by all means, hop to it!) OR if you’ve always dreamed of being traditionally published and you’d truly feel like you failed in life if you didn’t make that happen.

But otherwise, I think it’s a bad decision for your writing life. Not because it won’t get you where you want to go, but because it takes away so much of your control and yet throws most of the work on your back. And it takes way too long.

They make the money, you do all the marketing. They give their opinions—and that’s all they are, opinions—and you spend another six months revising a story that’s already fine the way it is.

And did I mention that it takes SOOOO long and it’s built so much on the differing opinions of others—what someone else thinks will sell, what someone else sees as valuable.

I mean, let’s just look at this from a logical stand point. And I will say that I don’t care for logic. I do things how I want to do them, and the world will just have to bend.

But looking at this from a logical stand point… you spend a year writing a book. You’ve cleaned it up, revised it, it’s been to an editor and now it’s ready to go.

And then you’ve gotta look for an agent, because these days, unless you’re going small press, the only way into a big publishing house is through an agent. Could take six months, could take nine. Could even take a year.

When you finally land your agent—which is an awesome accomplishment, by the way, I’m not at all denying that—you now have to wait, again, while your agent tries to sell the book. Another six months goes by. Maybe more.

Or, maybe the agent comes back and says, “so-and-so at this publishing house suggests you make these edits, and so-and-so at that publishing house suggests you make those edits…” So you go back to the story and revise it, yet again. Another six months piled on.

Now let’s say your book actually gets sold to a publisher—and so many don’t—now you’ve got another 12-to-18 months before you’ll ever see that book in print.

Adding that up, it can take you an average of 2-3 years—or even longer, which is the case for most writers. Two to three YEARS! Before you’ll ever see your book in print.

Will it be worth it? Yeah, I’m sure it will be.

But it will be hard-won and you will be burned out… and then once the book finally comes out, you’ll still be responsible for doing all of the marketing. And at that point you won’t want to do it, because you’re so exhausted from how long it took just to get the damn book published in the first place.

Why fucking torture yourself? Why spend years writing pitches and tweaking pitches and making more and more revisions and edits based on so many other peoples’ opinions (ever heard the phrase, too many hands in the pot?)? Why focus so much time and energy on finding an agent and then waiting to find a publisher and then waiting for the publisher to decide it’s time to publish your book?

You could just professionally self-publish your book and get on to writing and self-publishing the next one. (I believe the best way to sell a book is to write and publish another one.)

That is the power of the Digital Age. And yes, you’ll still be doing the marketing for the books you self-publish, but since you won’t be wasting any time or energy on pitching agents and publishers, you’ll have plenty of time and energy to do the marketing.

And then you’ll be the one making the money when your books start to sell. (I mean, you’ll share a little with Amazon, but it’s totally worth it to have this kind of publishing power.)

The gatekeepers are totally gone now. The doors for you to step in and claim the writing success you dream of having are wide open. 

But you’ve gotta step up. You’ve gotta commit to it and you’ve gotta do what it takes.

And, most importantly, you need to professionally self-publish.

What that means is, you treat self-publishing your books like a traditional publisher would: you hire out help for whatever you need to produce a professional book. That can mean hiring an editor, or a story coach, or a cover designer, or a marketing expert. 

Whatever you need to do this self-publishing thing the right way.

I do not support self-publishing in a vacuum or self-publishing when the only person who’s read your book is your spouse or a close friend. That is the biggest mistake self-published authors make and one that causes them to fail and feel totally hopeless because they can’t sell any books.

Books need a vetting process. They need an outside perspective. You cannot publish in a vacuum. You have to get outside feedback.

Now don’t confuse getting outside feedback with listening to the opinions of too many people in the publishing industry. You always need an outside opinion from a professional who knows what they’re talking about, but you don’t have to be inundated by it.

I speak from absolute and total experience on this one. I wrote and published my first eBook—Butt-In-Chair—in 2010. And I didn’t even put that eBook—or the one I wrote next—on Amazon until the end of 2012. Before then I was selling my eBooks exclusively through my website.

And I still made upwards of $4,000 in sales.

Since I’ve been on Amazon, I’ve published five more books—one of which was a multi-category best seller and still resides in the top 5 of its category. And as I’ve done this, I’ve grown my following and am now selling more than 1,000+ books a month.

Six years. It took me six years to get to this point…and I wasn’t even trying that hard until the last few months!!

In the traditional publishing world, it could take you six years just to find an agent or a publisher.

I have a good friend who was committed to traditionally publishing. It took her 11 years to see her book in print. And after all that time and energy and waiting… the book just sits there, collecting dust, because she’s not actively marketing it and neither is her publisher.

Is that REALLY the writing dream you want for yourself? 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are always exceptions. An author who finds an agent and a publisher quickly and when her book debuts it hits #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List and then gets turned into a movie and she becomes an overnight success story.

But that is an exception—and a rare one. That is NOT THE NORM.

When you professionally self-publish and build a following, you can get an agent and publisher to come to you. Seriously. Just look at Amanda Hocking.

Amanda Hocking spent 9 years writing books and getting rejected by publishers. Until one day in 2010 when all that changed. She needed the money to pay for a personal expense, so she put one of her books up on Amazon.

It started selling. Upwards of 9 copies a day. So she put another one up. And it started selling too. And then another and another.

She created millions of dollars from her self-published books AND THEN a traditional publisher came to her with a 2+ million dollar deal.

THAT is the true power of self-publishing and building a following. ‘Cause, remember, you’re gonna be doing all the marketing and work to build a following anyhow, so you may as well be the one to benefit from it.

Traditional publishing just can’t keep up with the power professional self-publishing holds. It’s a whole new ball game and it’s rigged in your favor.

But you’ve gotta do the work. You’ve gotta keep doing the work. You can’t write and self-publish and then sit on your ass. You’ve gotta step up.

Self-publishing is the ultimate way to take control of your writing destiny. But you’ve gotta take it seriously and treat it like a traditional publisher would. That’s the thing that makes the difference between a book that sells and a book that sits.

I’m insanely proud to be a successful self-published author and I will continue to stand and speak for the power of professionally self-publishing and for creating the writing life you dream of having.

I’ve taken my stand… how about you?

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How do you feel about self-publishing? Would you ever give it a try? 

NEW WORKSHOP: On July 18, I’m running a 4-week virtual workshop to help you GROW YOUR FOLLOWING so you can gain a readership, jump-start your traffic and sell more books (now or when you’re ready to). Learn more here

It’s Time for Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016 (Grab Your Free Ticket)

I first learned about self-publishing in 1996 when I wrote a 120-page novella that I was thinking about publishing. Back then it was insanely expensive just to get your book published and printed (thousands and thousands of dollars). And as a 13-year-old, I didn’t exactly have the means.

Today, you can use a site like CreateSpace to self-publish your book for no cost at all (minus any set up or pre-publication expenses, like editors, cover designers, etc). Self-publishing has totally changed the game for emerging authorpreneurs and writers who dream of seeing their name in print.

I’m super proud to be a professionally self-published author. I think self-publishing is the best way to take control of your writing destiny, to put the book you dream of writing out into the world and make an actual profit from it.

Now I say professionally self-published, because there is a difference.

A self-published book is one where the author just put it together and then published it, without any professional outside feedback or guidance. Books like this rarely do well because most writers (especially new writers) don’t have a clue how to write a good book.

A professionally self-published book, on the other hand, has been vetted; it’s had outside feedback and perspective from a professional (or series of professionals) and has been revised and polished accordingly. Now that’s not to say it’s perfect (nothing is, nor can be), but it has a much better shot at being successful.

If you’re going to self-publish, do yourself a HUGE favor and treat it as professionally as you would if you were being traditionally published.

That’s why I’m freaking pumped to tell you about the upcoming Self-Publishing Success Summit. This is a crazy-big annual event with a mission of helping you become the best professionally self-published author you can possibly be. Last year 30,000 people attended from the comfort of their own homes (it’s a virtual event).

This year’s speakers are really, really good, and they’re going to show you how to go from blank page to bestselling author.

Here are just a few of the speakers you’ll learn from at this year’s summit:

Step 1: Becoming An Author (Writing the Book)

  • Jay Papasan — Using The ONE Thing & Time Blocking To Finally Write Your First Book
  • David Allen — The Getting Things Done Approach To Writing Your First Book
  • Cal Newport — Eliminating Distractions & Practicing Deep Work To Finish Your Book
  • Gretchen Rubin — Happiness, Good Habits, And Becoming A Writer
  • Joanna Penn — Fiction Writing Techniques For First Time Authors (What I’ve Learned From Writing 10+ Books)

You’ll find at least one strategy or system in every presentation that you can put to use right away for massive results (like Jay’s time-blocking approach).

Next, marketing and publishing masters will reveal exactly how they went from zero to bestseller to millions of books sold. (Click here for your free ticket.)

Step 2: Marketing & Publishing Mastery

  • Gary Vaynerchuk—You won’t believe what he has to say about marketing 
  • Tucker Max — Selling 3 Million+ Books, Creating A Literary Genre, And Disrupting The Publishing Industry
  • Perry Marshall — 80/20 Book Sales & Marketing
  • John Lee Dumas — Using Kickstarter To Crowdfund Your Book (How I Hit $453,803 And The #6 Publishing Campaign In Kickstarter History))
  • Grant Cardone — Sell Or Be Sold: Using Sales Skills To Sell More Books & Grow Your Company

After you’ve discovered proven marketing and publishing strategies anyone can use, you’ll get hands-on advice on how to turn your book into prestige, respect, celebrity, and a booming business.

Step 3: Monetizing (Making Money From Your Book)

Turn your book into a 6-figure business and a brand with success secrets and strategies from:

  • Jeff Walker — How I Went From #1 NYT Book Launch To $5.1M Product Launch (And What To Do When The NYT Keeps You Off The List)
  •  Barbara Corcoran—from the TV show, Shark Tank
  •  T. Harv Eker — How I Built The Largest Success Training Company In The World Using My Book (Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind)
  •  Hal Elrod — Beyond The Bestseller: Foreign Book Rights, Creating A Book Series, & Selling Out Your First Live Event
  •  Mel Abraham — How I Sold $500K In Backend Products And Grew My Business Using A Book Launch — Mel Abraham
  • Verne Harnish — Scaling Up Your Business Using Books (And How I Sold 250,000+ Copies Of My First Self-Published Book)

These experts and dozens more leading authors and entrepreneurs are breaking down exactly how to self-publish, market, and turn your book into a successful business. I can’t wait for this event!

>> Claim your FREE ticket to Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

Image courtesy of Aaron Burden

Is What You’re Doing Keeping You Unpublished?

Whenever you achieve a goal, you can use hindsight to look back and see exactly what you did that worked. Once you have that information, you can create a process for yourself that will allow you to achieve the goal again and again (unless it’s a goal you only want to achieve once).

That’s how you create success. By figuring out what works for you and then doing it.

Over and over again.

For me, step-by-step processes work. Checklists work.

And they work really well.

I’m almost totally balanced right and left brained (48% left brained and 52% right). I like being creatively unleashed, but I also need steps and lists to keep me focused and not veering totally off track.

I know this about myself, so that’s why I’m now working from a “Daily Fucking Actions” list that tells me specific, outcome-focused tasks that I need to do every day. In the last . week and a half, this process has helped me to create 20+ new pieces of content for my community.

When I’m writing a novel, I know that I need to spend a minimum of 6 weeks developing and planning the story. I have to do this before I write the draft.

Because I know I’m someone who can’t write more than one full draft of a story. If I have to write a whole other draft, I’m not finishing.

I know these things because I’ve taken enough action and achieved enough outcomes to know exactly what works best for me and what causes me to flail (and fail). 

Do you know what works for you?

And  I define “works” as something that actually gets you the outcome you’re going for. If you’ve been doing something for a while and you don’t have the result you want yet, what you’re doing is probably not working.

It can be hard to admit that, I get it. It was hard for me back in 2009 to admit that I had no freaking clue what I was doing and my novel draft showed that.

But I admitted it, I got real with it and then I found what did work (for me, that was story structure).

You absolutely have to do what’s best for you and what works best for you. I’m a full supporter of that. I don’t believe in doing things just because other people are doing them (especially when other people are doing them!). I’ve always gone against the grain in my life. That’s what works for me.

But you also have to see when something is not working and heave-ho.

Otherwise you’ll find yourself stuck in a repeating pattern where you’re living the same year over and over again, never really getting anywhere.

Still working on that novel? Yeah, this will be year 113. 

I know how you feel because I’ve been there. It took me 18 YEARS to publish my first novel, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have a story worth publishing.

It was because for the first 13 years I had NO CLUE what I was doing–and I didn’t care. I thought I could just get inspiration for a story and then sit down to write it.

Now I’m lucky because I’ve been an avid reader and writer my whole life (when I was 5 I climbed on my mom’s lap with a book and asked her to teach me how to read). So because of this I have an intuitive sense of story. I may not have known the specifics of story structure, but I knew the story had to change in 3 places and that it needed a beginning, middle and end that was cohesive.

But that didn’t mean I could write a good story (I couldn’t, and if you read the very first draft of my very first novel you’d see that).

Writing a good story took me 3 years of studying craft. Every. Single. Day. 

I watched movies and deconstructed the plot points. I read books and tried to pick apart the structure. I studied Larry Brooks’ blog and his books, and I practiced planning and developing stories as much as I could.

I was truly a student of story (still am).

So 15 years into my journey, I finally had a story worth publishing. Problem was, I spent another 2 years sabotaging myself with procrastination, perfectionism, feeling not good enough, skipping my writing session, not doing the work, not showing up to the page, Upper Limit Problems and more.

It took getting my mindset in the right place to clear all that shit up.

And then in June 2015, I published my debut novel, SoundCheck.

No one gets there without blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of freak outs. I sure didn’t.

But I got there. So now I know what works best for me and what I need to do to repeat that success and get another novel out there.

Do you?

Do you know what works for you? Really?

My guess is, you don’t. Maybe you know some of it, but you don’t know really what works for you.

Because you’re not doing the effing work.

You say you want to, and you even mean it. But still you don’t sit down and work on your writing.

To be successful on your own terms, you have to know what works for you and then do it.

But you can’t know what works for you if you don’t do the work.

So fucking do the work. Show up. Work on your story. Revise it. Publish the damn thing. Get it out into the world.

Otherwise you’ll never know what works best for you or how to repeat it.

Share With Us

When it comes to planning, developing and writing (and publishing!) your stories, what works best for you? 

Are you ready to go pro? Join Students of Story, my membership site and community where you can get over your shit, learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish your book and publish it. Learn more here.

Why You Should Never, Ever (Ever, Ever) Self-Publish In A Vacuum

In this Periscope I talk about:

  • Why self-publishing without outside feedback will doom your story
  • What to do instead

Share With Us

What’s your book publishing dream? And what are you currently doing to move toward it?


Do you want to be a more effective storyteller and cut years off your learning curve, so you can write a kick-ass novel and get it out into the world in the next 12 months? Join me for a free Clarity Call


Image courtesy of Free Blog Photos 

From Story Idea to Published Novel in 7 Months: What It Takes

In this Periscope, I cover everything you need to know to go from story idea to published novel in only 7 months (hint: it’s NOT what you think!!)

Share With Us

Which of the three stages are you in?


Do you want to be a more effective storyteller and cut years off your learning curve, so you can write a kick-ass novel and get it out into the world in the next 12 months? Join me for a free Clarity Call.


Image courtesy of Pauline Mak